Banner Health announces flu clinic, new guidelines for Ebola screening
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Banner Health has announced the start of a Friday flu clinic in Fallon and also guidelines on treating individuals with Ebola-like symptoms.
Banner, along with county health officers, are urging people to have a flu shot. Each year in the United States, on average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized because of the flu and 36,000 people die from flu-related complications, said Banner spokeswoman Sarah Quale.
Beginning today and each Friday through Nov. 21, Banner Health Clinic will offer flu shots on a walk-in basis from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Banner Churchill Community Hospital in the Pediatric Clinic on the second floor.
Flu shots are available for adults and children for $25. Cash, check and credit card are the only forms of payment accepted. There will be no insurance billing.
Quale said the Centers for Disease Control and Preparedness recommends a flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. Preventative actions such as covering your cough and washing your hands also are important everyday steps that can help stop the spread of germs.
According to Quale, the CDC advises people should be vaccinated annually as soon as the vaccine becomes available. Vaccinations continue into December and January, and the flu season typically runs from the fall through March.
Banner Health has developed a policy to deal with Ebola, defined by the CDC as a “rare and deadly disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. Ebola can cause disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).”
“Any patient who presents to a Banner Health hospital with Ebola-like symptoms is immediately screened to rule out the virus, a process that includes an emphasis on the patient’s recent travel history,” Quale said. “Our acute-care hospitals have isolation rooms where patients who are exposed to serious infectious diseases can be treated.”
Quale also said Banner Health employees are undergoing extensive training to ensure their proper use of personal protective equipment and review related patient care protocols.
“We are developing designated response teams of infectious disease specialists within Banner that will respond to any Banner Health hospital that identifies a need,” she added. “We continue to work with our area state and county health departments, and will follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines if we receive a patient who exhibits signs of this virus.”
In addition to Banner taking steps for Fallon and its other locations, the State of Nevada has taken action steps to ready itself for the unlikely event of an exposure to the Ebola Virus.
The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services’ Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tracey Green has participated in several conference calls, such as the one this week organized by the Nevada Hospital Association, to discuss and ascertain the level of readiness and to gather information in preparation for the soon to be appointed Ebola Advisory Task Force.
DHHS Director Romaine Gilliland has taken quick action and plans to appoint the task force members tomorrow. The first meeting is to be scheduled next week. The purpose of the advisory task force is to ensure the state’s readiness, develop effective communication plans, and make recommendations through the DHHS Director to the Governor for further action.
In addition, DHHS has created an Ebola Tool Kit website (health.nv.gov) as an educational resource for both the community and medical providers. The state’s website also links to the local health authority webpages and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention websites for additional information.